Heavy drinking was common in the
army into the 20th century. But it should be remembered
that it was also a problem in the country as a whole.
The Mutiny Act of 1689 (forerunner of the
Army Act) stated that soldiers were to be put up in "Inns,
Livery Stables, Alehouses, Victualling-houses and all Houses
selling Brandy, Strong-waters, Sider (Cider) or Metheglin
(an alcoholic drink made from honey) by retail". Billeting
soldiers in these places made things worse.
Five pints of beer were supplied daily
to soldiers until 1802 and strong spirits were available
in barracks from 'grog-shops' run by private contractors.